How to Clean Plastic Aquarium Plants Easily?

When you set up an aquarium, it undoubtedly enhances the exterior beauty of your home or the place you prefer. But if that aquarium looks dusty after a while, it’ll raise questions about your taste instead of enhancing the vibe.

Basically, when the plastic plants inside an aquarium or the water become dirty, the aquarium looks bad and poses a threat to the health of the fish inside it.

That’s why it’s essential to clean your aquarium at regular intervals, especially the plastic plants, because they get dirty quickly.

However, if you don’t know how to clean plastic aquarium plants, we will here discuss that in detail.

How To Clean Plastic Aquarium Plants at Home?

In most cases, the plastic plants in your aquarium look dirty because of the ‌algae that naturally forms in it. And you can easily clean your plants by either putting off the plants from the aquarium or keeping them in the aquarium.

How To Clean Plastic Aquarium Plants at Home

In both cases, changing the aquarium water would be recommended. And if you see there are too many algae in the plastic plants, you should put off all the plants from the aquarium, and if not, you can clean your plastic plants without putting them off.

First let’s talk about how you can clean your plastic plants without putting them off:

How Can You Clean Plastic Aquarium Plants without Putting Them Off?

If you find only a bit of algae on your plastic plants, and it does not look too dusty, then the following two methods will help you clean them without putting the plants off:

1. Use a Gravel Vacuum

In simple terms, a gravel vacuum is a plastic siphon connected to a hosepipe and used to transport water uphill from a tank to a lower level. Once the water is pushed into the hosepipe by suction, the water flow continues until the water level is equal at the two places.

Usually, a gravel vacuum is used to change the dusty water from the aquarium but if you use it properly, you can clean algae from your plastic plant as well.

To clean your plastic aquarium plants with a gravel vacuum, follow the steps below:

  • First, get ready with your gravel vacuum and set up the water collecting bucket at a lower level than the aquarium’s water level.
  • Secondly, dip the siphon into the aquarium water in a slightly crooked way and gently produce suction on the siphon so that it begins to suck water from the aquarium and feeds it down the hosepipe into a container or other collecting item.
  • Once the flow has started, hold the head of the vacuum over your plastic plants so that the algae comes out with the water.

Now, continue the process till all the small parts of algae slowly come out with the water and the water level is equal at two places or the aquarium gets half or fully empty.

You can also watch the  following video to see how the vacuuming process also works to remove other dust from your aquarium as well.

2. Use Eco-Friendly Flocculant or Liquid Algae Remover:

You can also use eco-friendly flocculants to clean the water of your aquarium, which will eventually clean if there is a little algae on your plastic plants.

But make sure that the flocculant you are using is eco-friendly so that the fish inside your aquarium does not get any harm. And you will have to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the limit of usage.

Similarly, there are various kinds of liquid algae remover you can find online or offline, which you can use to remove if you find a small layer of algae over your plastic plants.

However, you will have to identify which kind of algae you have in your aquarium and choose an eco-friendly liquid algae remover, according to the kind of algae so that your fish stay healthy.

Here is a quick overview of different kinds of aquarium algae, which will help you identify your one easily and select an eco-friendly liquid algae remover or flocculant.

3. Put in Some Algae-Easing Fishes and Snails

Another cool way to clean your aquarium’s plastic plants is to put in some fish and snails that love to eat algae.

Yes, there are some fish and snails that love to eat algae, so when you put them inside, they will eat the excessive layer of algae and clean your plastic plants.

Put in Some Algae-Easing Fishes and Snails

Here are some commonly used algae-eating fish-

  • Siamese Algae Eater
  • Chinese Algae Eater
  • Twig Catfish
  • Bristlenose Plecostomus
  • Black Molly
  • Shrimp
  • Freshwater Goby
  • Live-bearers
  • Otocinclus Catfish

Here are some algae-eating Snails-

  • Nerite Snail
  • Mystery Snail
  • Malaysian Trumpet Snail

Yes, adding algae-eating fish or snails to your aquarium would be a great way to keep the environment clean. But before you make a purchase, just research a bit about those fish and snails to find out if they are the right fit for your aquarium.

Well, these are the most effective ways to clean your plastic aquarium plants without putting them off. Now let’s take a look at the other method of cleaning:

How Can You Clean Plastic Aquarium Plants by Putting Them Off?

If you notice that the plastic plants inside your aquarium are excessively dusty and that the procedures discussed in the preceding sections are ineffective in cleaning them, then you will need to remove all the plastic plants from the aquarium and wash them thoroughly.

Here are the different ways you can wash and clean your plastic plants:

1. Use Hot Water

When the plastic plants are too much dirty, using hot water would be a great way to clean them since it rapidly kills all the algae and does not spread dangerous chemical exposure. To do it follow the below steps carefully:

  • First, put off all the dusty plastic plants from your aquarium and place them on a clean surface.
  • Boil some fresh water in a saucepan.
  • Transfer the water to a clean beaker once it has been heated all the way through.
  • Quickly place the plastic plants in the hot, boiling water.
  • For the next ten to fifteen minutes, leave the plastic plants in the hot water.
  • Now remove any remaining algae from the surface by scrubbing.
  • Once all the algae are dead, put off the plants and allow them to cool down.
  • Now wash all the plastic plants with cold water, and you are ready to put them back into the aquarium again.

2. Use Bleaching Power

If washing with hot water is not able to clean the plants properly, then you will have to use bleaching powder to clean the dusty plastic plants thoroughly.

To do that, follow the cleaning steps carefully:

  • Put off all the plastic plants and place them in a clean bucket.
  • Now, take a bucket and carefully combine bleach with water to create a bleach solution where water 9% will be water and 1% will be bleach.
  • Once your solution is ready, for the next 15 to 20 minutes, leave the plastic plants inside this bleach solution.
  • After 15 to 20 minutes, now remove the plastic plants from the diluted bleach, and let them cool in fresh water for a minimum of 15 minutes.
  • But if you see some black spots still existing in the plants, scrub and clean the surfaces delicately for a few minutes under running water.
  • Once you have cleaned, reintroduce the plants to the tank again.

You can also watch the following cleaning video to see how the process works as well.

So, these are the most effective ways to clean plastic aquarium plants after taking them off from the aquarium.

What Should I Know Before I Clean My Plastic Aquarium Plants?

Before you start with the algae cleaning process, make sure you know, learn, and follow the things below:

  1. If you are going to use a gravel vacuum to clean the plastic plants, make sure you also clean the sponge filter because it keeps the water clean.
  2. When using the gravel vacuum, make sure you concentrate on the water level and the bucket you use to keep the water coming out of the aquarium is relatively large. Because if you continue vacuuming without concentrating on the water level, and the bucket is small, it may dampen your floor and carpet.
  3. If you are putting off the plastic plants from the aquarium, make sure you are putting off the plants with a clean hand, otherwise, the water inside the aquarium may get populated. And a small portion of bad bacteria can kill the fish inside.
  4. Never use stuff like detergent or any kind of washing powder to clean the plastic plants. Because most of the dish or cloth washing power we use in our house contains toxic elements which can kill your fish. So, avoiding washing your aquarium plants using toxic detergents would be ideal.

Yes, those are the crucial things you should keep in mind while you are cleaning your plastic aquarium plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

If any questions remain in your mind about your plastic aquarium plant cleaning procedure, read the FAQ section below. You’ll find most of the answers to your queries.

What if I do not Clean the Plastic Plants for a Long Time?

Well, it is recommended to clean your plastic aquarium plants at least twice a month. But if you do not clean them regularly, then more algae will grow up, the aquarium will not look good and the water will not remain habitable for the fish, which may become the cause of the death of all the fish.

Can I Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Plastic Aquarium Plants?

Yes, you can, but some species of fish are sensitive to hydrogen peroxide. And if you clean the plastic plants with direct hydrogen peroxide or use it with another chemical, it could pollute the plants, and when fish come to the plants, they might die.

So it would be good to not use hydrogen peroxide to clean plastic aquarium plants.

When Should I Replace Plastic Aquarium Plants?

In most cases, plastic aquarium plants can be cleaned by following the methods we talked about in this discussion, but if you find too much dust in the plant and even after washing with bleach, the layer of dust is not going away, then you should think about replacing the plant. Otherwise, you should clean and reuse the plant.

Is It Important to Add Bacteria and a Sponge Filter to My Aquarium?

Actually, you should add both of them to your tank. Because a sponge filter helps to remove debris and unneeded rubbish from the tank.

 Secondly, a healthy level of bacteria aids in the breakdown of dead plants, leftover food, and other particles to prevent an overabundance of ammonia and nitrate. So, including these two would be a beneficial improvement.


Finding dirt on your plastic aquarium plants is a natural thing, but knowing how to clean plastic aquarium plants is a helpful skill.

In this discussion, I tried to describe most of all the possible and effective ways to clean your dusty plastic aquarium plants.

However, keeping some algae-eating fish and snails would help you maintain a balance of dust and other particles, which will not require you to wash the plants frequently.

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